Tuesday, 22 November 2016

A little thanks.

After the exhausting sadness of the last few weeks, I'm starting to pick back up. I think I let a lot of things get to me that were actually sort of positive. The pressure to do well, and the pressure to be this pinnacle of recovery. Like, ok, people like to tell me how well I'm doing. Yes, that comes with a lot of pressure to constantly one-up myself, but it also means that people care. Both in myself and my story and in other people, in the people they hope my story will help. It's absolutely confining because it keeps me in a box of recovery, but it's absolutely liberating in that it keeps me out of the box of whatever diagnosis. It's an absolute head fuck, really, but it's ok.

Whilst I was down, I posted on facebook appealing for self-care tips and I got some really good ones and lots of support, and that really helped. It's so easy to criticise social media for its impact on mental health, but it's a great platform if you know how to use it. I don't have a particularly long block list (although I know that doing that works for a lot of people), but I'm not afraid of unfriending. I find that especially effective when someone has horrible political views because I've come to find you can't reason with unreasonable. I don't even do that much any more though, because I'm a big fan of the unfollow button. It's like unfriending without looking like a dick. So anyone posting a lot about weight loss, or anything like that are all unfollowed.

It's made my feed a lot more positive. Mostly it's people sharing pics of their kids and I love that. Or strong women I admire. Or funny fuckers. Or people who are unflinchingly honest without being triggering (it's fine to say you're struggling, it's not fine to unload pics of your cuts or jutting bones). That little unfollow button is so nice for us who can't be arsed with confrontation, I tell you.

I've realised I went on a little tangent there, but it's kind of representative of my head space right now. Since I had another Olanzapine (anti-psychotic) reduction last week, I've found that I keep veering off onto completely different topics and telling even more irrelevant stories than usual. And I'm not known for relevant stories, put it that way. I was anxious when I first did the reduction, just from withdrawals, but now I feel just more energised than I did before, which is so novel. I'm no longer sleeping 13 hours a day either, so that's more practical.

ANYWAY. Thank you to everyone who reached out over the last few weeks, I think was my point with this post. Thank you for investing in my recovery and caring about me continuing with it. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Monday, 14 November 2016

Success story.

For a lot of people, particularly within local mental health services and the hospitals I was a patient in, I've become more of an idea than a person. Hell, for a lot of people who only sort of know me, I'm the stories people tell, rather than the person I am. I'm the success story; I'm the person who proves that recovery is possible; I'm the person that's rewarding to work with. Not because I'm particularly special, but because I seem to have returned from some sort of living death and a lot of people can claim (and mostly deservedly so) input into that. They tell me that I'm the one they tell people who are just starting their recovery journeys about. And they think that that's going to be nice to hear.

But it's not.

Don't get me wrong, I do honestly get it. I used to search for success stories to encourage myself forward and I ate up all sorts of tales about recovery. Anything to inject me with a dose of hope. I was always waiting for some sort of epiphany, for everything to suddenly make sense. I remember once seeing a made-for-TV film about two friends, one with anorexia and the other with bulimia. All manner of dramatic and fast things happened (don't get me started on how quickly Hollywood EDs progress and how quickly people get help), and then one night one of them had this massively dramatic breakdown where she screamed that she didn't want to die, and then quickly recovered. I never had that moment. Nobody really has that moment.

I think, though, in or way or another, everybody searches for that moment. Everybody wants to believe that it can all turn around instantly. Everybody wants to believe in stories like mine. On paper, you only have to look at my history of hospital admissions and yadda yadda yadda and see that it's been well over a year since I last was in and blah blah blah. You can flick through my facebook photos are see me doing fun things and looking healthy. It's all out there.

Nobody is looking for the silence though. People don't realise that my fear over getting ill again and letting everybody down is literally making me ill. I feel under so much pressure and I'm so beyond stressed. When they tell people about me, nobody speaks about how I lay awake at night worrying about what effect me struggling would have on the morale of services and social media friends and people who sort of know me. Things are not unicorns and rainbows. I'm having a really hard time working out how much I can tell different people about how I'm feeling, judged by how invested they are in my being a success. It's exhausting.

People don't seem to understand that I never wanted to be the poster child for anything. I sort of fell into public speaking and I loved it. I still do. To a degree, it is all my fault. But I only wanted, selfish as it sounds, to speak for myself. I don't want to be a mouthpiece, I don't want to an example, I don't want to be a 'I once knew this girl...' type of a girl.

I just want to be a person. I'm not a success story. Today it took me 3 hours to convince myself to have my first shower in 5 days. Tomorrow might be better. I'm tired.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Unexplained sadness.

Since my accident, I've been really sad. The first week or two it kind of made sense. I was in a lot of pain and I was fed up. I sat propped on a shit tonne of cushions and napped a lot (cheers, painkillers) and that was about it. The pain radiated right up my spine and into my neck and I was exhausted. I was adamant I was only taking a few days off work, which was properly laughable, and when I realised I wouldn't be, I was really pissed off at the whole situation.

After that, I could sit a bit more comfortably but I still couldn't really walk or even stand for any length of time. I knew that my time off work would be measured in weeks not days and I was coming to terms with it, because I knew that although I was improving, I still had a way to go. The problem then was I was bored. I was fed up of sitting on my arse but I wasn't well enough to do a great deal about it.

Now, my back and neck are both a lot better, but that's just leaving me with the sadness without the distraction of a of pain. I'm not even totally sure why exactly I'm so sad. Yesterday I might have given you a different answer, but I've since spoken to work and arranged to go back on Friday, that's one thing I've got sorted, so I don't think the expanse of time ahead of me to fill is the reason.

Chances are, I'm just hormonal with a good dash of bored. I can't quite figure it out though. I'm not depressed. But I've always thought sadness could be explained away and I suppose I'm now realising that isn't true.